Inner West Independent

Tension over sale of Italian Forum Cultural Centre rises

The Italian Forum’s Business Management Committee (BMC) has begun a public campaign to put pressure on Leichhardt Council to stop its fight for the sale of the Italian Forum Cultural Centre to local Italian language and community services facility, Co.As.It.

Sol Michael, a strata representative to the Business Management Committee and owner of a fashion business in the Forum, said the committee has decided to launch its public campaign against council’s sale to Co.As.It because it feels that its concerns have not been taken into consideration by council.

“They won’t meet with us and they won’t listen to our point of view so I’m putting our point of view on paper,” said Mr Michael.

“The BMC is going to fight council every step of the way in this matter because they have no concern whether the forum will survive as a centre or not and they have had the temerity to ignore us.”

Leichhardt Mayor Darcy Byrne said council would continue its efforts to secure the sale despite the campaign because it feels that it is the best way to support Leichhardt’s Italian community.

“As Mayor, I am required to look out for the public interest. The organisation (Co.As.It) is deeply involved in the Italian community. We believe this sale is the best way to keep the Italian community in Leichhardt forever.”

Co.As.It General Manager Thomas Camporeale also feels that Co.As.It is well-suited to bring cultural events to the centre.

“Co.As.It. strongly rejects claims that it is not able to run the Centre as a Cultural Centre.”

“Co.As.It. has extensive experience in promoting and managing cultural events – this is in fact part of our business.”

The Actors Centre Australia, a current tenant of the Italian Forum Cultural Centre, shares the Business Management Committee’s feeling that it has not been appropriately consulted regarding the sale.

“I do not understand why no-one from council has come down here to speak with me,” said Actors Centre Australia’s Creative Director Dean Carey.

“I did have a visit early on from Leichhardt Council General Manager Peter Head, but I invited all of the councillors to take a tour of the cultural centre and not one person accepted my offer.”

According to Mr Carey, Mayor Byrne has agreed to meet with the Business Management Committee this week to discuss the sale.

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